Adu, 25, has been working on conditioning in the Washington area since his five-month tenure at Serbian club Jagodina ended last month. He has apparently been holding out hope of returning to Europe.
The Ghanaian-born attacker, who grew up in D.C.’s Maryland suburbs, launched his career with United in 2004, before bouncing to Salt Lake, Benfica (Portugal), Monaco (France), Belenense (Portugal), Aris (Greece), Rizespor (Turkey), Philadelphia, Bahia (Brazil) and Jagodina. Benfica owned his contract from 2007 to 2011 and loaned him four times before allowing him to go to Philadelphia on a free transfer.
Last year, Adu had unsuccessful trials with Blackpool (England), Stabaek (Norway) and AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands).
Adu has not started a league match anywhere since late in the 2012 season with Philadelphia. He made five substitute appearances for Bahia and none for Jagodina, which used him in cup competition only.
In his most recent MLS stint, Adu carried a base contract of $400,000 and guaranteed compensation of $519,000. Now, he would probably have a hard time fetching $150,000.
If an MLS side were impressed enough by Adu’s trial to make an offer, it’s unclear whether he would have to go through the league’s allocation order. Adu would not qualify as a player from the U.S. national team signing with the league — his last appearances was in 2011 — but he is, in MLS’s wording of players falling under allocation rules, “a former MLS player who returns to the league after having gone to a club abroad for a transfer fee.”
The twist: This would be his second return to MLS since Real Salt Lake sold him to Benfica in 2007. Philadelphia had to go through the allocation process to acquire him in 2011 because he was in the national team mix. Unlike his first league departure, Adu left the Union without a transfer fee; he and the club agreed to terminate the contract.
Without national team ties or the transfer fee criteria, an MLS club could acquire him directly.